“Job Opening: Surely You Jest…
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LONDON (Reuters) – WANTED – A court jester to fill a post vacant for 350 years since England executed its king.
English Heritage said in an advertisement in the Times on Thursday applicants for the competition at the weekend should bring their own costumes with bells, but said it would provide a bladder on a stick — a traditional jester’s prop.
Contrary to the image of a buffoon, court jesters had to be highly astute, able to lift the spirits of their monarchs and risked death if they failed — as many did.
The duties of the last court jester, whose job ended in 1649 when Charles I lost his head, included making him laugh and providing a distraction from politics.
This time, however, English Heritage said the winner would not risk decapitation but would still have to provide trenchant wit. Would-be fools should attend a public audition Saturday at Stoneleigh Park in central England, wearing their costumes. “